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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Saturday Spot: Table Mountain, A National Park Right In The City Centre…

May 20th, 2013 · 23 Comments

Table Mountain is a National Park and a world heritage site, right in the centre of Cape Town it stretches right down the Peninsula, almost into our backyard. This means that wherever you are in Cape Town you are always only a short distance from the great outdoors. Now I’ve never met a Cape Town local that didn’t claim Table Mountain as their very own. We are really proud of our Mountain and one of my children has a dream to get to the very top of it. The very top is quite an achievement and we set out to try. Now while we have steps and a mountain behind our house they are nothing compared to the steps associated with actually getting up Table Mountain.

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Let’s start at the beginning… and some of us are still in training regarding backpacks…

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I’m all for a water bottle and a warm top, a sketchbook and some pencil crayons. But a Beano annual, a map of Austria!!! Eventually we were ready to go…

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Hands were held and conversations eager…

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The route decided upon… the sign board claims about a 2 hour hike… well that depends entirely on what planet you are on and just how long it takes that planet to rotate on its axis… because 2 hours on this earth it certainly wasn’t!!!

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We were eager, the mountain spectacular…

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And let’s face it we are somewhat used to stairs… lots of stairs…

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Okay I retract that last statement, within 100 meters of the start I knew I was in way over my head… chasing little gazelles up the mountain…

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And that receding skyline…

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The flowers were beautiful…

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Anytime I reached somewhere cool and refreshing…

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Little folk were ready to get going again…

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The rock just kept on coming…

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The city unfolded beneath us… on a very misty day – and the cranes were peeping out of the harbour and the foghorn was crying out it’s message…

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And hundreds of tourists walk this route – powering their way up Table Mountain speaking French, German, Korean… a league of nations really. All so encouraging… just keep going, just one more step, take a rest… but to the local family that was springing up the mountain like jack-rabbits: This is not nearly half-way and definitely not two thirds of the way – talk about false hope!!!

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More steps… more rocks…

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I was aiming for the shade…

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Always just out of reach…

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And the Peninsula mountains unfolding is somewhat spectacular… gasp…

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And the city further and further away…

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Rest…

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Nearly at the shade…

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Giant steps all the way…

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Finally we made it…

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To the shade… and spectacular!!!

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The city has vanished…

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And for those of you who are still climbing… if this was labour then you have just hit transition. Folk will pass you and say – “nearly there” … “Just ten more minutes”… do not believe them. The shade is really about halfway and the rest of the way is somewhat vertical. There is only one thing to do – take a seat, evaluate your entire life, eat some chocolate and head on up – because at this stage there is just no going back…

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It’s a long way down…

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And a long way up…

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Don’t look back… and yes they call those stairs!!!

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And suddenly we were up at the top…

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Looking down on folk still coming and going…

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And they tell you the top is flat – don’t believe it, there is no flat. The top is beautiful, but it is not flat.

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Half the city was still asleep and under blankets…

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The other half not so much. Incredible really, that you can be in the wild and in the middle of the city…

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And after a rest and some water and more chocolate… there was a revival and some folk were actually running about… not me so much!!! I actually learnt a lesson on the day: There comes a time in your life where “mind over matter” is irrelevant… the mind might be strong, eager in fact – but the body just not so much… who knew!!! Not to mention that my sweet family is incredibly patient and will wait and wait and wait for their “mother person!!!”

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At that stage in the day, that had taken twice as long as we expected, we took the shortest people down the quickest way…

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The race was on… my big guys clambered down the mountain and I was very happy to oblige the little people with an astronomically priced ride… Somebody had to go with them!!!

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Four hours up and about fifteen minutes down!!!

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Yes we climbed Table Mountain, all the way up that deep crack – to the cable station and down again…

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Just one problem… We were close… but not close enough. The dream is to go ever so much higher, all the way to Maclear’s Beacon at the top. We (being me) just couldn’t face it on the day… and so we are back in training… stairs behind our house… because we are going to have to do it all again to reach the dream and touch the tippy top of Table Mountain. And once we have touched the tippy top, then I think my children will claim the mountain as their own, as true Cape Town locals do.

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Tags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Irene // May 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

    And then you get the really, really CRAZY people that run up and down in under an hour!!
    If it’s any consolation, up takes me about 3 hours as well. McLears Beacon is almost on a flat walk (amble really), but clearly not after 4hours of stairs.

    Well done on conquering the shortest route up the mountain.

    And, yes, I also will ALWAYS take the cabel car down. One way trip is not too bad, but still way overpriced.

  • 2 Tammy // May 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Cool i have rock rabbited up and down this mountain a bazillion times and slid half way down when pregnant with Ben!!!! and grew up in a house on the side of it, and watched the waterfalls and walked to them…. Nostalgia!!!!!

  • 3 se7en // May 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hay Irene, that was all in the days when I was young and reckless… and yes we did race up and down the mountain all in the name of training… The route I remeber from student days was NOTHING like the route we staggered/crawled up as a family!!! But we did it and we will do it again – so determined to get to the very TOP!!! Hope you have a really good week!!!

  • 4 se7en // May 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Oh Tammy, I also grew up on the slopes of Table Mountain and took my dog for a run along the contour path every day after school… what a privilege that was!!! Gotta love that piece of country right in the middle of the city!!!

  • 5 Tracy W. // May 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Wow. Is there a potty at the halfway mark?! However did you manage with the kids drinking water the whole time if there was no potty? My kids “go” every half hour or so when we hike if they’re drinking water!

  • 6 se7en // May 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Oh Tracy W, that is a funny question and no there are no bathrooms en-route – you are in the wilds. This is a mountain – with no taps, no picnic spots per-se. I am guessing your kids would have to walk a lot faster than mine!!! There are bathrooms at the top of the mountain near the Cable Car, but honestly I never gave it a thought… and nobody asked for one!!!

  • 7 Susannah // May 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I remember climbing that a while ago and my husband kept telling me that we were almost there, but there was a thick mist and I couldn’t see the top. We were definitely not almost there.

  • 8 Kelly Pardee // May 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

  • 9 Beth S // May 21, 2013 at 12:16 am

    How absolutely gorgeous! I’ve seen pictures of tabletop mountain and we’ve read about it for school but your ‘ report’ was great! Thank you so much for sharing this and your other adventures! :-)

  • 10 se7en // May 21, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Oh Susannah… There is a vast difference between almost there… and actually almost there!!! I think out of the hundreds of folk we passed and that passed us, maybe about two were honest!!! Life lessons on the slopes of Table Mountain!!!

  • 11 se7en // May 21, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Thank you Kelly, Glad you liked them!!! It really is stunning and totally worth the climb!!!

  • 12 se7en // May 21, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Hay Beth, Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully we will be able to bring you the next instalment, the very tippy top sometime really soon!!! Have a fabulous week!!!

  • 13 Katherine // May 21, 2013 at 3:49 am

    What an awesome adventure!!!!!

  • 14 se7en // May 21, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Oh Katherine it was!!! And after all that staggering we weren’t stiff and sore the next day – that gives me hope that we can actually make it all the way to the top!!! Hope you have the most wonderful week!!!

  • 15 jacqui // May 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    That’s fantastic! What amazing views! Makes me want to give our most local (rather small in comparison) mountain a go…
    jacqui´s last blog post ..And now here’s something I hope you’ll really…

  • 16 Cheryl // May 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

    What a wonderful walk/climb. I can sympathize with just reaching a shady part and the party moves on straight away. Fabulous views.

  • 17 se7en // May 27, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Hay Cheryl… It was quite a climb, and I have to say I am excited about it… we could well be entering a new era of taking walks and hiking together… finally our youngest is up and able after a year of battling with broken leggedness and getting his little legs strong again we finally have an eight-kid team good to go and ready to tackle almost anything. Now if we could just get their mother slightly fitter!!! Hope you all enjoy your long weekend!!!

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